Mikel Arteta is set to face one of the biggest challenges of his short managerial career as Arsenal take on Tottenham Hotspur in the famed north London derby on Sunday. The Gunners are favourites heading into this clash due to their recent form, but a disappointing draw with Leicester City should not bode well as they look to remain in the fight for a Europa League place.
Predicted Arsenal Lineup Vs Tottenham Hotspur
Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Bernd Leno are the apparent absentees in the defensive department for Arsenal heading into this fixture. That means Arteta has very little reason to make any changes to the backline that performed rather well against the Foxes in midweek.
Shkodran Mustafi has been an ever-present figure in the Arsenal backline since the turn of the year and should retain his place in the starting lineup. But, it is David Luiz’s leadership and aggression that could come in handy, especially against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side.
Sead Kolasinac is once again expected to get the nod ahead of Sokratis and Rob Holding in the additional defensive slot of the three-man backline while Emiliano Martinez is a guaranteed starter in between the sticks due to the absence of Leno.
Arteta is unlikely to make any changes in central midfield due to the current form of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos. The latter, in particular, has considerably improved, especially in his defensive game. His courage and bravery, combined with the technical prowess, could be useful in breaking down the rather timid Tottenham defence this weekend.
Arsenal do have other options in midfield, though. Lucas Torreira, for one, is among the names expected to feature as a second-half substitute.
Elsewhere, Hector Bellerin will continue to start ahead of new signing Cedric at right wing-back while the opposite flank could be occupied by Kieran Tierney.
Nicolas Pepe has missed the last few matches for Arsenal due to the birth of his child. He is likely to be out of sync, thus paving the way for Bukayo Saka to retain his place at right-wing, although Reiss Nelson is another option.
In the number nine role, however, Arteta has no option but to start with Alexandre Lacazette after Eddie Nketiah was sent off against Leicester City for a dangerous tackle on Justin James. Saka, Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will operate on the left, will be keen on exploiting Tottenham’s lack of solidity at the back.
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